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Mental health in the workplace: managing stress as an independent business owner

As an independent business owner, maintaining good mental health in the workplace is important yet difficult, with increasing demands and worries causing huge amounts of stress. Business owners feel pressure to make sure that their business is a success; as keeping a healthy cashflow and turnover can be challenging.

Research carried out for Mental Health Awareness Week has shown that mental wellness in Britain is deteriorating, with only 13% of UK citizens reporting that they have good mental health. Each year in the UK, 70 million work days are lost due to mental health problems, costing companies around £2.4 billion annually.

How to spot the signs of stress as an independent business owner

The Government’s health and safety department lists the following as some of the signs of stress in the workplace:

  • Anxiety
  • Changes in mood
  • More emotional
  • Loss of motivation or confidence
  • Poor memory

How to improve stress and mental health in the workplace

When you’re running your own business, it can be tempting to try and complete as much work as possible yourself. Often, an independent business owner is involved in every aspect of the company; from replying to customer enquiries to dealing with big decisions. Money is often tight in smaller companies, so it’s common for many business owners to feel obliged to carry out the work of multiple staff members.

If you have employed staff, it’s important to use them to their full potential, allowing them the responsibility to carry out their job. You can be there to offer advice and guidance, but by letting them keep on top of the day-to-day tasks while you focus on bigger decisions, you can reduce your stress levels.

Over the years, we have become accustomed to seeing reports of small business owners struggling to stay away from the office. If you run the company on your own, remembering to maintain a healthy work/life balance is key. Working long hours can take its toll on mental health in the workplace, and can leave business owners stressed and exhausted.

Make sure that you try to stick to a schedule when working, and make time to spend with family and friends. Take control of your working hours and stick to them; if you are replying to emails and calls at all hours your customers will grow to expect 24/7 service, but most consumers do understand that businesses only operate during set hours and are happy to wait a few extra hours for a response.

If you are looking for further ways to reduce stress and tackle mental health in the workplace, take a look at the NHS’ list of stress busters. For more information about Mental Health Awareness Week, visit their website.

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